The Packers have one of the thickest histories in pro football. This fall will mark the team’s 95th season.
Which is why what is going on in Buffalo is so sad. After the Bills owner and founder Ralph Wilson passed away March 25, questions have been swirling as to not only the next owner but also if the Bills will remain in Buffalo.
The Bills are a team that is very similar to the Packers. The Green Bay-Appleton TV market is 70th in the nation while Buffalo is 51st. Both are tiny compared to the rest of the league. After Jacksonville, which is 47th, the next highest market is Cincinnati at 34.
They both have rabid fan bases that welcome the arctic cold each winter with a smile and a brat and no matter how the team does, seats are always hard to find.
However, there is one major difference between Buffalo and Green Bay, and that’s ownership. The Packers are in a sense owned by everyone, which makes it absolutely impossible for the team to do anything like selling or moving. However, Buffalo is not. And depending on if Jon Bon Jovi’s group or Donald Trump’s group purchases the Bills, Toronto could be the next city to get an NFL franchise.
How weird and awful would it be if the Packers moved to a place like Los Angeles? The Packers not only have deep roots in the NFL but they also have strong roots in Green Bay and Wisconsin as well.
It’s actually pretty remarkable that in 2014, Green Bay with nearly 105,000 people, is able to not only have an NFL team but in large part does it better than the Giants, Jets, Bears, Eagles and Cowboys. Those coincidentally are four of the top five markets in the country — minus L.A.
Green Bay and Buffalo may not draw from large financial pockets to maintain constant inroads in an ever-changing NFL landscape. Both teams could make buckets more money if they were in a larger city. (It still baffles me that Portland, OR, which is 22nd for market size, is without an NFL team).
But the way they have been able to do it refreshing. Basically relying on fan bases that will never quit and then cashing in when good seasons are on the horizon.
Basically, what it comes down to is trust. There’s trust from management that the fans will continue to pack the stands no matter what the record is and there’s trust from the fans that the management will always strive to assemble a winning product.
That’s why it’s a shame that Wilson, who hasn’t even been laid to rest for a month, could see his once-proud Bills moved to Toronto. There’s nothing wrong with Toronto but remember, these were the Bills that gave us O.J. Simpson and four-straight Super Bowl appearances.
Fans in Green Bay can be certain that the memories they have of the Ice Bowl and the Snow Globe playoff game will not only remain with them but will be shared by multitudes of generations to come. That’s what makes the Packers so interesting. Generations of fans grow up watching and injecting histories and memories into the next generation, that watching Packers games becomes a family reunion.
You’d be hard-pressed to find trust or a fan base like that at any other city in pro sports.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn